Vuelta a Espana Stage 3: Matthews snatches overall lead
Matthews crosses the line to take the stage win and the overall lead. (Image: lavuelta.com)

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) won Stage 3 of the Vuelta a España on Monday, outsprinting Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) in an uphill finish.

The young Australian also took the lead in the general classification as a result of his win.

The result means that Matthews continues his fine season, which also saw him spend six days leading the Giro d'Italia.

At the beginning of the stage, five riders - Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural), Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM Cycling), and Jerome Cousin (Europcar) - broke costless and set a ferocious pace, gaining a lead of five minutes within ten kilometres.

However, the peloton, led by GreenEDGE who were working for Matthews, led the chase and eventually reeled in the escapees.

For the second day in a row, the stage was littered with obstacles, including narrow bridges and sharp bends but the pace remained high throughout.

Katusha had the bunch strung out as they looked to set up a stage win for Joaquim Rodriguez, the uphill finish playing to the Spaniard's strengths.

Rodriguez struck out with one kilometre remaining, but he was too far from the line and was caught by Martin.

The Irishman looked to have the stage win in the bag, but in the final metres Matthews burst through to take the win and the overall lead.

He said: “We couldn’t ask for more."

“We went into [today's stage] as one of the favorite teams.

"I had to burn my guys early to chase down the break. [It] wouldn’t have been possible to win without them.

"Rodriguez attacked, but I didn’t think we would catch him. It was up to me to get on Dan Martin’s wheel.

"For me and the team, it was a 110-percent effort, we delivered, just like we planned.

"To win a stage and wear the red jersey, it’s a dream come true. I love this race, I love Spain.”

Stage 4 sees the peloton tackle a 164.7 kilometre route from Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba.

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